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Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern Manga Paperback – September 1, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As Schodt points out, in the 13 years between publication of his 1983 Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics, and this volume, American consciousness of manga, Japanese comics, and its animation offshoot, anime, has grown considerably. The collective American eyebrow may still rise quizzically at the enormous popularity of comic books in Japan, where they are accorded nearly the same social status as novels and film, but the narrative strips, with their characteristic big-eyed characters, are increasingly popular in this country. The informally encyclopedic Dreamland Japan?the result of Schodt's 16-plus years of studying manga?not only makes it easier to understand the art form but also says a good deal about Japanese culture (even the Aum Shinrikyo cult used manga to attract young followers). Derived in part from articles in Mangajin and Animerica, this is an authoritative reference of the different categories of manga, popular titles and publishers. Schodt also features more than 22 artists, many of whom he interviewed, including Hinako Sugiura, King Terry (Teruhiko Yumura), Shingo Iguchi (the creator of Z-Chan), and Fujiko F. Fujio (creator of the Doraemon, a series with 44 volumes which have sold an estimated 100 million copies). A full chapter is devoted to the father of them all, cartoonist Osamu Tezuka, whose death in 1989 "sent shock waves through nearly everyone under fifty in Japan." Manga fans may be disappointed because the book is not obsessively detailed, but even they might find helpful the "Appendix of Manga in English," which lists publishers and Internet news groups that focus on manga and anime.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Comics are marginal, preponderantly juvenile literature in the U.S., but in Japan, manga comic books are read by all strata of society and account for 40 percent of book and magazine sales. Manga are so pervasive in the culture that many feel understanding them is necessary to comprehend modern Japan. Schodt's Manga Manga (1983), the first substantive examination in English of them, remains the definitive volume on the subject. His new book looks at trends of the past decade, profiles leading artists, and examines such curiosities as otaku (obsessed young male fans). He explains how manga differ from Western comics by encompassing a wider range of subject matter, stressing storytelling and character over illustration, and consisting of serialized stories that may continue for thousands of pages; to demonstrate their diversity, he profiles a cross section of titles drawn from all genres. The popularity of manga (and its cousin, anime Japanese animated cartoons) is growing in America, and more are translated every year, which ensures interest in this book. Libraries concerned with comics, pop culture, or Asian studies, take note. Gordon Flagg

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Stone Bridge Press; 1st edition (September 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 188065623X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1880656235
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,474,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Frederik L. Schodt is a writer, translator, and conference interpreter based in the San Francisco Bay area. He has written widely on Japanese history, popular culture, and technology. His writings on manga, and his translations of them, helped trigger the current popularity of Japanese comics in the English-speaking world, and in 2000 resulted in his being awarded the Special Category of the Asahi Shimbun's prestigious Osamu Tezuka Culture Award. In the same year, his translation of Henry Yoshitaka Kiyama's 1931 pioneering graphic novel,_The Four Immigrants Manga_, was selected as a finalist in Pen West USA translation award. In 2009, Fred was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, for his work in helping to promote Japan's popular culture overseas. Also, in the same year he was awarded the "Special" category of the Ministry of Foreign Affair's 3rd International Manga Award.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By R. Brown on April 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
The dean of English-language work on Japanese manga, Frederik Schodt has followed up his classic, Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics, in brilliant form. Dreamland is a series of essays that outline just what manga is, the otaku phenomenon, notable magazines, a who's who of individual artists and their work, and a lengthy chapter on Osamu Tezuka.

Japan is, as the author notes, a country "awash in manga." Of all the books and magazines sold in Japan in 1995, manga accounted for a stunning 40%, or some 2.3 billion (that's 15 for every Japanese person). In dollars, the industry's annual worth is in the neighborhood of $7-9 billion. At some of Japan's prestigious publishing houses, manga are subsidizing the more serious art and literature they put out.

Yet, the real triumph of manga "lies in their celebration of the ordinary." As a US comic artist notes, in the US comics are a caricature, while in Japan "it seems like most popular comics are...of normal people doing normal things." Schodt goes further: manga are "an articulation of the dream world. Reading manga is like peering into the unvarnished, unretouched reality of the Japanese mind." He concedes, though, that one must question what the overall effect of having so much information transmitted via the medium of a comic book-"that deliberately emphasizes deformation and exaggeration-has on a people.

Schodt's understanding of his theme and of Japan are breathtaking. His section on Tezuka, the originator of Kimba the White Lion and Astro Boy and many more titles, is especially well done. The God of Manga, for whom a museum has been constructed, was a friend of the author and contains many insights into a revered figure in Japan. Highly recommended-for manga and non-manga fans alike.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By gozen on November 28, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
....and absolute gravy for the connoisseur. Actually, for the veteran manga fan, the return of Frederik Schodt in Dreamland Japan is a delight. His first book Manga! Manga! was for many of us the first scholarly recognition of the genre (which is not to say it was boring, either). His new book provides a tour of the huge variety of manga available in Japan today, from old favorites like Shonen Jump (where many of my favorite manga series, including Dragon Ball Z were first published) to the explosion of shojo (girl) manga following the success of Sailor Moon, to the more esoteric genres of hentai (pervert, or pornographic) and pachinko manga. The writing is lucid, as before, and has a sympathetic yet cool view of Japanese pop culture. There could be more illustrations (what's a book about manga without the pictures?) and a more comprehensive list of manga sources, artists, and publishers, but this is the kvetching of a longtime manga fan. Readers new to the world of manga will be surprised and enlightened.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Banshee on June 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
This handy little book explains it all: why the unexplainable boom of girlie-girly obsession especially with much older males, all the different levels of manga readership ranging from boy's and girl's comics to instructive comics for young mothers who were once street punks to very cynical workplace comics for middle-aged salarymen which are not at all unlike the American comic strip "Dilbert". And you are also introduced to a great variety of Japanese comics, well-known or not - including the perverted, gross-out, and graphically violent ones that no American page will ever accept! You will personally witness the very evolution of the medium all the way from the prints of feudal days to a whole cultural spawn of both manga and anime alike that frequently (for some reason) feature the usual skinny, wide-eyed high-schooler, but not quite always. In addition, we learn all about the very surprising consquences caused by the very creation of manga, including the tragic incident of tear-gas bombing in the Toyko subways; women already into their 30s trying to look like little girls in sailor uniforms; and the massive censorship of the most offending manga. A very fascinating and educational read as well as a entertaining one all about the immensely popular work from The Far East. And if you want to learn some more, try "The Anime Companion" as well!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 11, 1997
Format: Paperback
This is the most comprehensive overview of the topic I've read to date. It's obvious the author has a passion and uncommon depth of understanding of manga and Japanimation. At the moment, it is the authoritative reference book.Nice work, Fred.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "themancalledsam" on October 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is absolutely fantastic. Many of us know about numerous anime, or "Japanimation" series like Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and others like that. But few people know much about the roots of anime, MANGA. This book is a fantastic source on modern manga in Japan. It goes over conventions, the doujinshi scene, the current state of manga, the more popular manga magazines in Japan, popular artists and their work (featuring tons of B&W illustrations), and a section devoted to Osamu Tezuka (the Manga no Kamisama, or God of Manga). Each section is well written and interesting to read. The different artists work range from romance stories to action stories to the fascinatingly grotesque works of Suehiro Maruo. This book reaffirmed my love for manga, and I'm now snapping up all the collections translated into English that I can find. The only reason it failed to get five stars is because while it is an awesome book, it's predecessor, "Manga! Manga!" is even better!
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